Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing
"The Creative Process of Writing
is a Liberating and Therapeutic Experience"
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. A Life Of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process
of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings,
and actions. We are an interactive community of authors
and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge,
skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre,
but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips
for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton
and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript,
and are provided to the general public. Because we are
an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints
are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters
with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month's newsletter features: A Life Of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke
3. A Life Of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke
John Esten Cooke has written a wonderful book about General Robert E. Lee that is personal and
engaging, yet historical in fact from written correspondence of the day. Lee was perhaps our
greatest American General having graduated second in his class at West Point with the
distinction of having no demerits his entire four years at "the Point." Lee's father, Richard
Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee from the Revolutionary War were born in the very
same Stratford House that would serve three generations of Lees. Robert E. Lee's father married
twice, first to his cousin Matilda and later to Miss Anne Hill Carter who bore him three sons:
Charles, Carter, and Robert Edward, born January 19th, 1807 at Stratford, in Westmoreland County,
Virginia. This biography is about our greatest military tactician, bar none including our present
generals who came after him and served in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Lee's exploits are discussed chronologically and contain each tactical move in every skirmish he
participated in the War Between the States. It does not cover other Confederate generals except as
they appeared beside Lee, most notably Henry Jackson (who later died at Chancellorsville). Jackson
knew no fear and was responsible for pushing Union troops back across the James River. Jackson's
death profoundly affected Lee who was despondent for weeks. The battles take place in Northern Virginia
in Lee's efforts to march upon Washington, DC, while simultaneously protecting the Confederate capitol
of Richmond, Virginia. Most of the earlier fighting was given to the South's advantage, primarily due to
George McClellan's reluctance to advance on Lee because of his respect for his fellow soldier at West
Point and his insistence on not advancing a frontal assault on Lee. McClellan's retreat from the James
River was out of respect to protect his federal troops from further loss of life. The battle at Chickahominy
was a draw because both Generals McClellan and Lee were gentlemen generals who were both great tacticians
and Chickahominy was declared a draw.
Much of Lee's biography, although written in third person narrative, attempts to go inside his head as to
his moral code of conduct in battle brought about by his Christian beliefs in taking life only when necessary
in his attempt to protect his beloved Richmond from Union attacks. Lincoln was not so kind of his General
McClellan who was quickly replaced by the more spirited General George Meade in 1863 and the tide began to
shift to Union troops primarily due to their 3:1 troop strength, war materiel (cannons and muskets), and
federal inscription that led to reinforcements against a Confederate army that surrendered with only five
thousand men on April 9th, 1865 at Appomattox, Virginia to General U.S. Grant.
It was a credit to Lee, the man, who never accepted a home to sleep in, preferring to bed down in a
solitary tent, surrounded by only a few officers and his trusted horse, "Traveler." It is said that during
battles Lee never held a weapon, including his sword, until his final surrender at Appomattox. He was
impeccably and simply dressed in his gray uniform with three stars on each shoulder, his beard and mustache
short and neatly trimmed, his calm demeanor, atop his horse Traveler. He was an inspiration to his troops
risking his life constantly in the heat of battle to advance the cause of the Confederacy under President
Jefferson Davis who was later tried and convicted as a war criminal. Interesting Lee and his soldiers were
paroled after their surrender and not one was convicted of a war crime as long as "they never took up arms
against the United States Government." Lee defeat was devastating and he took it so personally that he fell
into a deep melancholy, hardly venturing out of his home in Richmond, Virginia. Although he signed an oath to
protect and defend the constitution of the U.S., the oath mysteriously disappeared for 110 years during which
time Lee was stripped of his U.S. citizenship until it was restored in July, 1975, by President Ford
posthumously to June 13, 1865.
Lee's oath, read in part, written in 1865, to a former Confederate soldier concerning his signing the Oath
of Allegiance, that: "This war, being at an end, the Southern States having laid down their arms, and the
questions at issue between them and the Northern States having been decided, I believe it to be the duty
of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony."
Lee later accepted the position of President of Washington College (later named Washington and Lee) in
Lexington, Virginia. It is interesting that the University today, founded after our two greatest military
heroes, George Washington and Robert E. Lee a century apart, has one of the best Law Schools and political
science departments of any small liberal arts college in America. His legacy lives today as thousands of
students have graduated from the humble beginning when Lee took over in 1865 when only 500 "men of moral
character" were accepted for admission.
Lee's death from a stroke in 1870 profoundly affected our nation during a time of Reconstruction, poverty,
and division. Tributes were many but the theme was the same, as evidenced by Judge Hilliard:
"This great popular demonstration is due to General Lee's life and character. It is not ordered by the
Government who ignored him, but rather a tribute to the memory of an illustrious man-good, true, and great...a
man with no military rank when he died, but was a true man. General Lee died at the right time. His sun did not
go down in the strife of battle, in the midst of the thunder of cannon, dimmed by the druid smoke of war. He
survived all this: lived with so much dignity: silent, yet thoughtful; unseduced by the offers of gain or
advancement however tempting...He did not draw his sword to protect human slavery...he did not attempt to
overthrow the U.S. Government. He drew his sword to in defense of constitutional liberty. That cause is not
dead, but will live forever."
- Who do you think our greatest military tactician was and why?
- Although Lee was first recruited by President Lincoln to lead the Union troops, he refused on grounds
his state of Virginia had seceded from the Union. Do you view his refusal as treason or one of moral
character and loyalty to his state of Virginia?
- Although the Tea Party movement is not a movement to secede from the Union, there are parallels
between the events leading up to the civil war in 1861 and the Tea Party movement today in favor of
states' rights. Given the events of the U.S. filing suit on the state of Arizona on their illegal
immigration legislation, do you envision a test between states' rights and federal mandates to
protect our borders?
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University
of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist
for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach
and is accepting new clients.
He has been an adjunct professor at the University of
South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in
executive development, founded and managed Texas Community
Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home
services to persons with mental retardation. Keith founded
and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest
Houston since 1990.
He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel
a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate
interest in helping others become attuned to their creative
powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family
therapy and health psychology. He has published articles,
made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
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